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Canadian consumers appear to like snack foods and, in fact, eat them almost every day. Snack foods have been one of the fastest growing product categories in the domestic market in recent years and are widely available in all retail channels across the country, including major chain grocery retailers, large format outlets, corner stores, drug stores, gas stations and vending machines as well as at movie theaters and sporting events.
In the snack food industry, niche products that offer novelty flavours, shapes, or unique ingredients have also been introduced. Unique flavours, products made from hemp seeds and root vegetables such as parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots, as well as organic snack food products are recent offerings in the market.
Fat content and health aspects of snack food products do not seem to be important issues for all consumers, as by their very nature, snack foods are considered to be an indulgence. However, increased consumer interest in weight loss and healthy eating is causing the industry to rethink the production processes of existing products and to consider the development of new products that will respond to the interest in low-calorie and low cholesterol snacks. For example, healthy seed snacks, nuts and dried fruit and nut mixtures offer healthy choices to some consumers and continue to capture a portion of the snack food market in Canada.
For some time-pressed consumers who lead hectic lifestyles and eat on the run, some snack foods have become an occasional convenient meal replacement or supplement. The snack food industry has always faced competition from confectionery products such as chocolate bars and candy but there are new “hand-held” products coming onto the market, such as snack crackers, snack cookies , granola bars and other convenience items which now compete for a share of the consumer’s pocketbook.
Competition in the snack food industry is fierce, due in part to the impulse nature of many snack purchasing decisions. Competition is primarily based on branding, advertising and promotion, effective distribution, product quality, and price. However, because brand loyalty is relatively low, shelf image is an important consideration and promotion plays a significant and ongoing role, especially among the larger firms. Growth in private label products, particularly in hemp seed nut, has also been important.
Partial Referenced: http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/
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